Jharkhand: ED makes another arrest in illegal mining case

  • | Thursday | 4th August, 2022

Ranchi, Aug 4 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) made a fresh arrest on Thursday in connection with its ongoing money-laundering probe in an alleged illegal mining and extortion scam in Jharkhand, officials said.Bacchu Yadav, an associate of Dahu Yadav, was taken into custody after he was questioned by the investigators here. Premises linked to Bacchu Yadav were raided last month.Dahu Yadav is linked to Pankaj Mishra, a political aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren. The officials said Dahu Yadav has gone underground since the ED initiated action in the case.Mishra was arrested by the ED in the case on July 19.Bacchu Yadav will be produced before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Friday, when the ED will seek his remand for putting him under custodial interrogation, the officials said.Meanwhile, the agency questioned Soren"s press advisor Abhishek Prasad alias Pintu for the second day at its regional office in the city"s Hinoo area.Prasad has been asked to depose again on Friday and continue recording his statement like on Wednesday and Thursday, the officials said.The ED probe began after the agency raided Mishra and his alleged associates on July 8, covering 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa in Jharkhand, in the case linked to alleged instances of illegal mining and extortion in the state.The searches were launched after the ED filed a PMLA case in March against Mishra and others, alleging that he "illegally grabbed or amassed huge assets in his favour".Late last month, the ED seized an inland water vessel worth Rs 30 crore in connection with its probe.The agency had said in a statement that the vessel was being "operated illegally, without having any permit from Sukargarh Ghat in Sahibganj (Jharkhand)"."The vessel was being operated at the behest of Rajesh Yadav alias Dahu Yadav in collusion with Pankaj Mishra and others for transporting illegally mined stone chips and stone boulders," the ED had said.Soon after the July 19 raids, the ED had frozen deposits of Rs 11.88 crore lying in 37 bank accounts belonging to Mishra and Dahu Yadav.Apart from this, "unaccounted" cash amounting to Rs 5.34 crore was also seized by the agency, which claimed that the money was linked to "illegal mining" in Jharkhand.Five stone crushers that were being "illegally" operated and an equal number of "illegal firearm cartridges" were also seized by the ED."The evidence collected during the course of the investigation, including the statements of various persons, digital evidence and documents, revealed that the seized cash/bank balance is derived from illegal mining being rampantly done in the Sahibganj area, including the forest area," the federal probe agency had said.It said it was probing a trail of Rs 100 crore of "proceeds of crime" generated from illegal mining operations in the state.The ED had recently stated that cash amounting to more than Rs 36 crore, linked to "illegal mining" in Jharkhand, was seized by its teams over the last more than two months as part of two separate money-laundering investigations.The second instance where cash linked to alleged illegal mining in the state was unearthed pertains to the ED action against suspended Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Pooja Singhal in May.Apart from the 2000-batch IAS officer, her businessman husband, a chartered accountant linked to the couple and others were raided by the ED as part of a money-laundering probe linked to a case of alleged corruption in the MGNREGA scheme.Singhal, who was holding the charge of mining secretary in Jharkhand, was suspended by the state government following her arrest by the ED.Suman Kumar, a chartered accountant linked to Singhal and her husband, was also arrested by the agency and cash amounting to Rs 19.76 crore was seized by it. PTI NES RC

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